Impeachment: Bluff or Worse?

Published: July 26, 2018

By Jim Lichtman
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In an unprecedented move against the second-highest-ranking official at The Department of Justice, two House conservatives, Representatives Mark Meadows (N.C.) and Jim Jordan (OH), have filed articles of impeachment against Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein.

J. Scott Applewhite/AP Photo

I wrote about the incivility demonstrated by Mr. Jordan in his relentless questioning of Mr. Rosenstein last month, (This is Not Who We Are – Part 2).

“In a particularly heated exchange,” CBS News reported (June 28), “Jordan accused Rosenstein of having personally redacted items relating to ongoing investigations as well as claims that Rosenstein was not complying with Congressional requests, saying, ‘you have seven days to get your act together.’ Jordan was referring to a resolution on the House floor threatening to hold Rosenstein in contempt. …

“ ‘I’ve heard you make those kinds of allegations publicly on TV. Mr. Jordan, I am the Deputy Attorney General of the United States, OK? I’m not the person doing the redacting. I’m responsible for responding to your concerns, as I have. Whenever you brought issues to my attention I have taken appropriate steps to remedy them,’ said Rosenstein. ‘When you find some problem with production or with questions, it doesn’t mean that I’m personally trying to conceal something from you. It means we’re running an organization that’s trying to follow the rules.’

“Rosenstein pushed back further, saying, ‘I appreciate your concerns, but your use of this to attack me personally is deeply wrong.’ ”

“The articles,” Politico writes (July 25), “filed late Wednesday by Reps. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.) and Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) — two top Trump allies — blast Rosenstein for what they allege was a failure to respond to congressional document demands. Senior Justice Department officials have rejected the criticism and described historic levels of cooperation with Congress to share files connected to the FBI investigations of Hillary Clinton’s email server and Trump campaign contacts with Russia.”

This is yet another dark chapter in the continuing attacks against the Justice Department, and Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russia’s effort to interfere in the 2016 presidential election and the possible links between Russian intelligence officials and the Trump campaign. Thus far, the investigation has produced dozens of indictments against individuals connected to the campaign.

Paul Manafort, who held the position of campaign chair for three of the five months he was working for the Trump campaign, is beginning the first of at least two trials next week.

The purpose behind this impeachment gambit by Jordan and Meadows couldn’t be more obvious: it’s yet another attempt to undermining the Mueller investigation. Even if the impeachment attempt fails, which is likely, this first step could give President Trump the pretext to fire Rosenstein.

If such a scenario unfolds, you can expect an extraordinary constitutional crisis that will only serve to further divide the country.


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